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Standards: PLUS

PLUS provides a universal metadata standard to describe licensing and rights granted for photographs.


A recently introduced form of photo metadata, the Picture Licensing Universal System, provides an integrated set of standards for communicating rights and ownership information associated with commissioned and existing images.

The international, non-profit PLUS Coalition develops, approves and maintains a set of standards for licensing language and formats. It serves as an umbrella association representing publishers, designers, advertising agencies, photographers, illustrators, stock image distributors, artist representatives, museums, libraries and standards bodies, such as UPDIG, IPTC, IDEAlliance and others.

The PLUS website offers free tools to embed and read PLUS licenses using an XMP metadata format. A license string can reside in IPTC or XMP metadata, with potential for direct embedding in an image file.

PLUS metadata help with Orphan Works impacts.
The ability to easily identify and contact an image’s rights owner will become vitally important when proposed “Orphan Works” legislation or copyright reform acts become law. Regardless of where first enacted, such changes would affect photographers worldwide. If the bills proposed recently in the United States passed, they would allow anyone in possession of an image to use it for virtually any purpose (including commercial use), after conducting a reasonably diligent search and failing to locate the copyright owner. Under this broad definition, any and all images previously circulated without rights metadata could be defined as “orphaned” images. Embedding complete and accurate rights metadata using IPTC, IPTC Core and/or PLUS metadata helps protect images from these and other unlicensed uses. Several countries are considering similar legislation, and Canada already has a copyright board that makes decisions on works produced by “unlocatable” copyright owners.

Official PLUS Website:


SAA's Calculator brings PLUS Packs™ to life.
To help spur adoption of the standard, SAA developed the SAA PLUS Packs™Calculator. Based on the licensor's own pricing data, this free, open-source software tool automates the first step of the licensing process - selection and pricing of a Pack. On one screen, and with just a few clicks, RM (Rights Managed) licensing will be easier than ever. Learn more about SAA's Calculator